Dancing in Bali – a side trip

Bali Dance

In 1996, the Agung Rai Museum of Arts was founded to preserve the rich Balinese culture, in its artworks and in its dances.

The Balinese dance style is unique – using every part of the body, down to the intricate hand gestures and exaggerated eye movements. There is complicated footwork, and bodies are move at angles in complex, rhythmic motions.

There are dances for almost every occasion and ritual. They range from the pendet, or welcome dance, to the Barong, where the lion king of the spirits and ruler of good battles Rangda, the demon queen, to the two dances dedicated to the two epics of India, adopted by the Balinese: the Mahabharata, also the world’s longest epic poem, which tells the story of struggle for rule between the Kauravas and the Pandavas and the Ramayana, not as long but still epic in length, which chronicles King Rama’s journey to rescue his wife Sita from the monstrous King Ravana.

The dance that will be featured during SpiceRoads’ visits to ARMA is the Legong Telek, a traditional Balinese dance form which also uses masks for various characters.

The story ensues: In a critical moment, Dewa Siwa tries to put a spell on Dewi Uma who instantly turns into a frightful Durga, the White Rangda. To counterbalance his wife’s power, Siwa takes the form of kroda murti, an angry manifestation of Kala, the Red Rangda. Their fight causes the world to become chaotic, and dreadful epidemic ravages the earth.

The desperate heavenly Deities worry about the situation. To restore the balance of the world, they perform a collaborative dance in their efforts to entertain the fighting witches: Wisnu performs a Telek dance, Brahma takes a role as Penamprat, and Iswara presents a Jauk dance. Overwhelmed by the divine show the monster break off their fight and the world regains its balance.

Unless you are there at full or new moon, then you will witness the Kecak Rina. Originally based on a ritual Balinese trance dance, Western artist Walter Spies collaborated with the local dancer Limbak in the 1930s to create this unique entertainment involving 100 men chanting with no music. Taking inspiration from the exorcism ritual, it presents the one of the battle stories of the Ramayana.

SpiceRoads has added this additional wonder to all their 2015 Bali tours – so now there is an even better reason to explore the Bali’s beauty by bicycle!

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